South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed figures announced this week that show antipsychotic prescriptions for people with dementia have reduced by 52 per cent in three years.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) audit collected data from more than 3,800 GP practices in England, with information about nearly 197,000 people with dementia. The 52 per cent reduction is between 2008 and 2011.
The news comes as South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust continues to deliver The Right Prescription campaign across Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. The campaign is designed to help people diagnosed with dementia, their carers, family and health professionals make the right decisions about the prescribing of antipsychotic medicines.
The campaign, which was launched in October 2011, supports the Governments call to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs. The work encourages people with dementia, their carers and/or family to be involved in treatment decisions where possible and appropriate.
Antipsychotic drugs are a group of medications that are most often used to treat people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. However, they are frequently being used to treat people with dementia if they have severe behavioural and psychological symptoms.
Antipsychotic drugs are able to help many people with dementia and can be an important part of their treatment. However, they can also cause side effects especially when used for longer than 12 weeks.
The Trust and other leading health organisations would like to see these drugs used appropriately, only when they are really needed and are urging people to seek a review of their prescription.
To help this become a reality, pharmacists at the Trust have devised The Right Prescription campaign to increase the number of clinical reviews.
Working in partnership with local GPs and other health professionals the Trust aims to ensure people receive the most appropriate medication to enable them to have the best quality of life.
Speaking about the campaign the Trust’s Principal Pharmacist Mubashshir Fazlee said, "People living with dementia may be taking antipsychotic medication that they do not need. Whilst it would have been correctly prescribed there could be other alternatives available. We want to work in partnership with our health colleagues and with carers to ensure people with dementia are getting the right prescription.
"The Right Prescription aims to get everybody with dementia who is prescribed antipsychotics a medication review from their GP or clinician. The review will aim to find the best possible alternatives to their prescription and, in discussion with the patient and their carers, help reach a shared decision regarding future medication."
The Trust is asking local people if they, or somebody they know, are prescribed antipsychotic drugs for dementia. They are then encouraged to ask their GP or clinician about a clinical medication review, to check they are on the right prescription.
To find out more about The Right Prescription campaign visit www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/prescription or ask a GP or health professional for a medication review.